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Sharing Practice in Enhancing and Assuring Quality
Start date: Oct 1, 2011,

In higher education quality assurance is both necessary and problematic. It is necessary as a means of checking that a university is fulfilling its role as an educator. But it is problematic in that the formal processes by which this is achieved often fail to connect with actual teaching practice or the student learning experience. The disconnection between reporting and practising quality makes a meaningful and shared institutional quality culture much more difficult to achieve. This project aims to address this issue by developing strategies for connecting the three main quality spheres: teachers, students and quality managers. It will use newly developed tools and models which support reflection, discussion and innovation in quality practice at these three levels. It will be based on the Quality Toolkit for teachers of languages developed by the LanQua Erasmus network. The Toolkit supports a development-action-review cycle, which locates quality within a reflective practice framework. It will be used to explore the quality perspectives of students and quality managers, and to identify connecting pathways between these different ‘quality circles’. It will provide evidence of how these tools and connections can make a real impact on attitudes to institutional quality assurance processes and to their implementation. The aims will be achieved through in-depth projects carried out in universities in nine different national contexts. The projects will collect data through student focus groups, interviews with quality managers and meetings with subject teaching teams. They will develop a practice-sharing workshop and they will initiate and evaluate small development projects exploring new approaches to quality assurance practice. The project results will impact directly on quality assurance practice in the participating institutions and the data and tools made freely available to others will support replicability of the project outcomes in other institutional settings.
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